To rebuild, or not to rebuild? That is the question for the Utah Jazz this season

With a 13-19 record (on pace for a .400 season), the Utah Jazz are stuck in the middle. They can't afford to stay there.

Dec 28, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) shoots against New
Dec 28, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) shoots against New / Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports
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Conclusions: How does this all relate to the Utah Jazz?

Feb 8, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz chief executive officer Danny Ainge looks on
Feb 8, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz chief executive officer Danny Ainge looks on / Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz began their rebuild before the 2022-23 season when they traded starters Royce O'Neale, Rudy Gobert, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Donovan Mitchell. It continued during that season when Mike Conley was traded to Minnesota, and when John Collins was acquired from Atlanta for Rudy Gay.

The Jazz have gone 50-64 over the last 2 seasons. Even after winning 6 of their last 10 games. they are still outside of the playoff and play-in tournament picture. More than likely, they are still closer to the start of this rebuild than to the middle.

When looking at the Utah Jazz's past rebuilds, they were fairly short. From 2003 to 2006 they went 42-40, 26-56 and 41-41 before reaching 51 wins and making the playoffs 5 times in 6 seasons; and from 2013-14 to 2015-16 they went 25-57, 38-44, and 40-42 before another 51 win season began a run of 6 straight playoff runs.

However, history is not on the Jazz's side. Utah's fire sale of trading away all 5 starters from the 2021-22 season, followed by last season's 37-45 finish was shocking and has few precedents for success.

The closest comparison is The Process, by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2010s who dismantled a 34-48 playoff team to truly bottom out after 10 seasons of mediocrity. This plan resulted in 5 playoff-less seasons, lots of bad draft picks, and G-League level players getting too many minutes, plus an NBA-record 28-game losing streak.

Not exactly the process the Utah Jazz should emulate.

The Jazz need high draft picks, shrewd free agent signings, and sneaky-good trade acquisitions plus a lot to go their way if they are going to execute a fast rebuild like the one the Boston Celtics and Danny Ainge executed in 2013 that is still bearing fruits to this day.

Let's hope that Danny Ainge and Justin Zanik have a plan, and that we see it more clearly in the coming weeks and months.

Next. Utah Jazz - sellers at the trade deadline?. Why the Utah Jazz should be sellers at the trade deadline. dark